Weekend Warrior: Decoupage, my newly revived obsession

Have you ever picked up a hobby only to put it down and forget all about it shortly after? Over ten years ago, I had a little dalliance with decoupage after I visited John Derian’s  booth at the New York Gift Show and I thought, I can do that. But I never really did. I cut up some paper, splashed some Mod Podge around, but never really got into it. And, what I made wasn’t good. Truly, not good.

John Derian’s Decoupage

john-derian-portrait decoupage

John Derian decoupage bowls

John Derian decoupage bowls

John Derian Decoupage paper weight plates

John Derian Decoupage plates and dishes

John Derian decoupage Tree Plate

But, just because I put down the hobby didn’t mean that I wasn’t still enamored. John has a seasonal store in Provincetown in the basement of his house there (up the side street with its own entrance). Sadly, Mecca (aka the store) is never open when I’ve been there. It’s like the holy grail for me, or finding a unicorn. One year I went and it had closed for the season the day before. Once I was in town for dinner and it had close an hour earlier. I’ve stood at the door and peered longingly through the window. Wailing softly (just kidding, kinda sorta). As a matter of fact, I am taking a week off in a couple of weeks (RoyRoy is going into the kennel at his hospital to be well looked after), and I thought – Hey! Road trip! Newp, the only day I can do it, they are closed. Is it never to be?? (Wailing plaintively. Literally.)

Anyway, I still love all of John’s work, there is such an old-timey whimsey and humor to so many of his pieces. But, he’s not the only one I’ve found whose work I really like.

If you love John Derian as I do, you will love his Halloween Collection for Target.

Melinda Marye-Kelley Decoupage

Bill and Melinda Marye-Kelley decoupage

Before I knew of John Derian’s work, I had written about the work of Melinda Marye-Kelley, a decoupage artist out of Texas. As a thank you for my post, Melinda sent me this lovely wastebasket, which I still have.

Marye Kelley decoupage my waste basket

Marye Kelley decoupage dachshund letter box Marye Kelley decoupage flower paper weight Marye Kelley delft decoupage wastebasket Marye Kelley floral decoupage plate

Marge-Kelley has lots of different decorative styles and products, including options for customization.

Jill Barnes-Dacey Decoupage

Jill Barnes-Dacey decoupage artist

Jill Barnes-Dacey decoupage birds bowl

Jill Barnes-Dacey Decoupage bowl 2

Jill Barnes-Dacey decoupage bowl1

Jill Barnes-Dacey decoupage flower pedestal bowl

Jill Barnes-Dacey decoupage vase coral

Jill Barnes-Dacey tea lights decoupage

A new favorite is Jill Barnes-Dacey whose work is beautifully artistic.

Linda Merrill Decoupage !

I’ve had a long summer sticking to home as much as possible to help my RoyRoy recover from IVDD surgery and have been casting about for something to do with my hands. I used to have tons of hobbies – sewing, quilting, soap making, pillow making, photography, decoupage. And slowly, as life has gotten busy and work and blogging became more creative and time consuming on their own, my hobbies fell to the wayside. So, I decided to give decoupage another look. It’s not that hard to pick up – there’s not a lot of start up costs – unlike say pottery with the need for a wheel and kiln. Or photography with the need for an expensive camera. That said, I did immediately spend a couple of hundred bucks on paper and some glass pieces from various sources to test out. And I’ve been haunting the pick-up-and-drop-off at my transfer station and thrift shops for glass pieces and vases I can practice on.

My first attempt was unspeakably bad – I tried to decoupage a wooden dress hanger with tissue paper. Let us not speak of that mess again!

But moving on, I bought a couple of small glass baking dishes (about 6 x 6) at the local thrift store.

Linda Merrill Decoupage floral square bowl top

Above is looking down into it and below is the bottom and side. The decoupage is all on the outside, so the bowl itself could hold dry foods (nuts or chips) as it can’t be washed, but can be wiped. The bottom and sides have been covered in several coats of a thick varnish, so it can be wiped as well, but not submerged in water. It’s not perfect, as I’m testing different paper types. For instance, the bottom papers (green and harlequin) are rice paper which tear and bleed through very easily I discovered) and the top is a mix of different craft and wrapping papers.

Linda Merrill Decoupage square bowl side

And my next two projects are these small glass trays, about 4 x 6. The decoupage is on the bottom, but only needs to be one sided as the bottom is then painted, a coat of white, then black and then covered in a felt. The edges are painted with a gold leafing pen.

Linda Merrill decoupage tray dragonfly

Linda Merrill Decoupage tray shells

I’m going to give these trays to two of my girlfriends who have been so supportive this summer as I’ve been dealing with RoyRoy. (Hopefully they aren’t reading this post!).

Linda Merrill decoupage vase

And this is a vase I did in 2018, though this photo has been shot added in March 2020.

What are your hobbies? I’d love to hear!

You may also enjoy: Fabulous DIY Paint Projects

15 thoughts on “Weekend Warrior: Decoupage, my newly revived obsession”

  1. Dear Debbie, I saw your question and I think I can help. I love decoupage, in fact I’m working on a decoupage project right now, and most of the paper I use is from Zazzle. They have a huge selection of different designs to choose from and their ‘decoupage tissue paper’ is really good quality, and it’s not too expensive either, unlike many other brands.
    Just google: http://www.zazzle.com Also I just bought John Derian’s book of Wrapping Paper and Gift Tags from Amazon. John Derian is my favourite decoupage artist and his gorgeous book is full of lovely paper you can use for decoupage projects. It is quite thick paper so I recommend sticking it onto a flat surface, using the iron – on method of decoupage. But then I use the Iron on method for ALL my decoupage projects because it prevents wrinkles and bubbles from forming in the paper. For this method you need everything you normally need for decoupage plus an iron. You can buy a small craft iron for this, but a normal iron is absolutely fine, as long as you turn off the steam function because the iron needs to be dry and hot, not wet and hot! Once you’ve prepared your surface to be decoupaged, you need to paint 4 – 5 layers of Mod Podge onto it, letting the Mod Podge dry in between each coat. Now, place your decoupage paper over your surface and cover it with a sheet of baking parchment (so it doesn’t get damaged by the heat of the iron), and iron the paper onto the surface so that all the glue melts again and the paper sticks down onto your surface, without any wrinkles or air bubbles. I hope this helps you. From Amanda Jones in Melbourne, Australia

  2. Hi Leslie,
    The glass Blanda Ikea bowl works well. The Moderna Bowl and plate by Crate and Barrel are also a good choices.
    Alma Darling

  3. I love your work! For years I’ve been trying to find smooth glass dishes without a bottom rim. Bowls as well. Can you tell me how to find them or where?
    Thank you!

  4. Your site and work is beautiful. I know Moeller and Barnes Dacey and decoupage is my first love. But I live in PA and can’t find decent wrapping paper, rice or mulberry. Where does one find these glorious papers to use? If there are websites, I’d be grateful!

    • Hi Debbie – thanks so much! I’ve got to get back to it again. I bought some papers (rice paper specifically) from someone on Etsy, which is a good source in general for different papers. I’ve used regular wrapping paper and also ordered wrapping paper from Spoon Flower because there are lots of unusual patterns and designs. Good luck!

  5. Linda, I studied with Jill Barnes Dacey in NYC in 2017; she is truly an incredible and inspiring teacher. You will be interested in the artistic works of Virginia Tatlioglu and Viveca Moller, both of whom have studied with Jill. Virginia is also a gifted artist and teacher. Viveca has an outstanding description of her art on youtube. Hope you are enjoying your new passion!!

    • Hi Alma – thanks so much for commenting! I’m familiar with Viveca Moller – I saw her video on YouTube and actually picked up some great technique tips just watching her work. I’ll check out Virginia as I don’t think I’ve heard of her. It’s a fun hobby. I put everything away at Christmas, but have to get back to it soon! Thanks!

  6. Beautiful work Linda! You do have my address, right? (winkety wink). I once had a paper or chipboard-type small desk “bucket” that was decoupaged. Not sure if it was for mail. I got it from an estate sale and I thought it was so old and pretty but now I don’t know what happened it to it. Hhmmm, I’ll have to search for it. Happy new week.


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